Residents of Port Harcourt capital of Rivers State were thrown into panic yesterday January 20, as ex-militants allegedly attacked the city.
According to report, the angry militants attacked drivers and other motorists road along the Aba – Port Harcourt Expressway, making away with people’s belongings. An eye witness said this stirred chaos, as drivers and other motorists abandoned their vehicles and ran for their lives.
According to The Sun, the angry ex-militants were armed with dangerous weapons, they set fire at the center of the road between the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Secretariat down to Waterlines Junction.
Sources had it that the militants were chanting “pay us our money,” as they attacked and harassed road users.
The police stepped in to assure residents that there was no cause for alarm as they are committed to ensure that lives and properties are protected in the region. This was made known through the Police spokesman in the area, Ahmad Muhammad, who stressed that normalcy has been restored around the area.
The relative peace enjoyed in Niger Delta for sometime now seem to be fading fast and gradually giving way to tension as the militant groups seem to be making a come back in the region.
The nation is currently suffering from the aftermath of militants attacks on oil and gas pipelines in Delta State over the weekend which has led to the shutting down of Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries on Sunday.
Men of former Niger Delta militant, Government Ekpemupolo, popularly known as “Tompolo,” are believed to have been behind the attacks. A court in Lagos ordered the arrest of Tompolo last Thursday over theft and money laundering charges totaling more than $175 million (161 million euros). Tompolo has however denied having any connection with the attacks.
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), said although this may not be a good idea to do so, it had to shut down the refineries after the Bonny – Okrika crude supply line to the Port Harcourt Refinery and the Escravos-Warri crude supply line to the Kaduna refinery suffered breaches following the attacks last weekend.
Minister of Power, Mr. Babatunde Fashola in a statement on Tuesday condemned the act of the militants saying that the country was losing some $2.3 million (2.1 million euros) a day to attacks on gas facilities and lost electricity production.
President Muhammadu Buhari is displeased with the development. Speaking during an interactive forum with members of the Nigerian Community in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, said those behind the act will be decisively dealt with.
The military blamed the attacks on criminal elements who are bent on destroying the nation’s strategic assets and said that it would no longer tolerate the sabotage.